Honor Thy Father | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Honor Thy Father 

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There's no doubt that the four solo performers in Tellin' Tales Theatre's Honor Thy Father love their dads. Autobiographical monologues by Beth Ann Bryant-Richards, Judith Harding, Tekki Lomnicki, and Lotti Pharriss make plain the speakers' pride and devotion. But their obvious affection doesn't prevent the women from addressing their frustration, anger, and struggles for recognition and independence--it just gives the pieces added poignancy. In a little over two hours we learn that Bryant-Richards's military "Daddy" was of "the direct-order school of child rearing," that Pharriss's father was a cowboy-scientist with a tough-guy mystique, and that Lomnicki's dad was a "swearing superhero in polyester." In the evening's most provocative piece, Harding talks about the abusive Irish father who "forfeited his lilt" to be American--only one character in her tour of her Irish roots as she fluidly transforms herself into a wide and entertaining range of people. Each monologue is appealing on its own, but pulling them together into one show creates an atmosphere of enticing openness and introspection. Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted, 312-409-1025. Through June 25: Sundays, 7 PM. $15; free on June 18 for fathers accompanied by a son or daughter.

--Jenn Goddu

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